Tuesday, October 31, 2023

Deck the Halls with Bowels of Ghoulies

While my decorations don't change drastically from year to year, I like to swap things around and add things here and there.  This year's mantel. 

Shaker Maker Hairy Bunch

Happy Halloween all!

I can't believe how fast this season has gone.  It's been a very busy October for me and I felt like I barely kept up on these posts, usually finding myself creating them in a rush on the night before.  

But it's day 31 and I made it.  Today's offering is a find from this past summer.  Ideal's Shaker Maker from the days when crafts were a hot item for kids, specifically 1972.

Monday, October 30, 2023

Home Haunts 2023

Carrying on a tradition I started last year, I took some photos of home haunts I came across while out garage saling.  I didn't see as many as last year, but I also didn't haunt the usual neighborhoods this year.

First up, I give the garage sale host props for putting together such a great sign.  But, spoiler alert, it wasn't a killer sale.  Just clothes.

The Heyer Cartoon and Idea Book - Halloween

I'm going to try squeezing in a few last minute items these last couple days.  First up is the Heyer Cartoon and Idea Book. A little like the advertising slick's I found a few years ago, this book gives ideas and images you can borrow to festoon your flyers, ads, school announcements, etc.  I found these at a garage sale for $1.  I'm not sure of the exact date, but I don't think they're any later than the 1940's given the fashions shown.

Mondays are to Die (cut) For - Beistle Scaredy Cat

Welcome to final "Mondays are to Die (cut) For".  Boy, that went fast.

This classic Beistle design is the "Scaredy Cat" and was another purchase at the Halloween collector estate sale.  This one is a large version measuring 16" x 15".  He's a little worse for wear, but a survivor, much like an old Tom cat who's been through a life of cat fights and missing a few pieces from his ear. I couldn't find this one in my reference books, but I would guess he's from the 1950's.

Sunday, October 29, 2023

Witch Costume Will You Wear?

With Halloween days away, it's time to start seriously thinking about your costume.  How about a Halloween witch?

This witch's costume dates from the 1950's. It was a surprisingly cheap find at an estate sale (I think I paid $1). 

Saturday, October 28, 2023

Garfield Out of Context (and Horrifying)

When I saw this puzzle at a garage sale, my mind immediately thought "Garfield is holding the severed head of John."

Hats Off to Halloween

These 2 hats came from the Halloween collector estate sale.  This first hat is large, standing 15" tall with an 8" diameter at the base (12" with fringe).  It dates from around 1950. Manufacturer is unknown.

Friday, October 27, 2023

Louis Tannen Magic Catalog 10

This will be my second post about Magic this season, and it's related in more than one way.

I picked up this Louis Tannen Magic Catalog Number 10 at the same magician's estate sale where I found the Room for Doubt Magic trick. It dates from 1973.

Tuesday, October 24, 2023

Rubber vs Latex - A Vintage Halloween Crisis

It's always heartening to find vintage rubber or latex masks and accessories at garage and estate sales these days.  Not only are the values climbing for these, in some cases, the supply is diminishing at an accelerated rate.  But I'll get into that.

I found these giant-sized rubber monster(?) feet at a recent sale.

Monday, October 23, 2023

Mondays are to Die(cut) For - Dennison Witch

This huge Dennison Witch diecut was another find at the Halloween collector estate sale.  She's a little worse for wear, but vary rare to find.  She stands a whopping 67" tall.

Sunday, October 22, 2023

Imagineering Second Skin

There's something disturbing about something called "Second Skin".  Almost lycanthropic, like that scene I recall from a werewolf movie (possibly one of "The Howlings") where they shed their human skin as they transform. Someone help me out here.

Anyway, this is just a make-up kit from Imagineering.  I've written before of my love and memories of their products.

Saturday, October 21, 2023

Giant-Headed Skeleton Jiggler

I found this jiggler in box lot of Halloween decorations at an estate sale.  He's unusual with his disproportioned head and painted eyes.


Friday, October 20, 2023

Halloween (and 80's) Wizardry

I've had this witch for a number of years and thought I'd written of her prior.  But it was a Gurley candle that strongly resembled it, which affirms my statements made in that post.

The reason I thought of her was due to these finds I made at the bus driver estate sale.

Thursday, October 19, 2023

Halloween by Brach's

Technically, I'm not cheating on "Mondays are to Die(cut) For" as these aren't die cuts.

I found these cardboard store displays at an estate sale laying on the floor of a bedroom, unnoticed by the throngs of people passing through.  I recognized them immediately as Halloween store displays, but wasn't sure what display or company they belonged to, although I had a hunch they were Brach's as the art looked familiar.

Wednesday, October 18, 2023

Beaten to a Pulp

You might think I'm crazy for paying $10 at an estate sale for this beaten pulp Jack O' Lantern, but that was actually a good price.


Tuesday, October 17, 2023

The Puppies' Night of Terror

It's become a tradition to include at least one piece of child's Halloween art each season on my blog. This crayon-colored mimeograph of the month of October fits the bill.

Monday, October 16, 2023

RIP Suzanne Somers

I'm interrupting my Halloween posts for this sad note.  It's been all over social media, so I'm sure it's well known by now, but Suzanne Somers has passed away from breast cancer at the age of 76.  Despite her portrayal of ditzy sexpots, she was no dumb blonde.

In her memory, I offer this TV Guide edition from November 25th through December 1st of 1978.

Mondays are to Die Cut For - Detour

This odd Beistle die cut dates to the 1930s and has similar coloring to the singing cat die cut shown in last Monday's post and in fact was part of the same set.  The full 12-piece set is featured on page 151 of Mark Ledenbach's 3rd Edition of "Vintage Halloween Collectibles".

It features 2 "scratch cats" seemingly stuck in traffic. I know how they feel.

Sunday, October 15, 2023

Please Don't Haunt the Charmin

There are many mysteries in the Universe.  Some things have no reason to exist.  This is one of them.

Saturday, October 14, 2023

Yo-ho, Yo-Ho A Wicked Eyepatch for Me!

In case you thought this was a regular eyepatch, you're wrong.  It's a WICKED eyepatch.  Must be for pirates from Boston.

Friday, October 13, 2023

Happy Friday the 13th

 It's always fun when you get a Friday the 13th in October.  It's like an extra day of Halloween:  13, 31? A coincidence?

For this Friday the 13th, I give you a couple black cats to add to your luck (or misfortune).  These particular cats are salt and pepper shakers and they were made in Japan, likely pre-war.

Thursday, October 12, 2023

Candy Containers

I've previously found an orange version of this candy container.  I found this green version at the big Halloween collector estate sale this past year.  It's possible these are made by Rosbro, but I'm not positive.  They probably date from the 1970's.

Wednesday, October 11, 2023

Room for Doubt

I've always associated magic with Halloween.  Maybe it's because Houdini died on Halloween. Or maybe it's just that commonality of the "lifting of the spiritual veil" when anything can happen.

I went to the estate sale of a magician this past year.  I've loved magic since I was a kid, not that I ever executed a magic trick particularly well.  I've told the tale of how a childhood friend and I attempted to have a magic show only to have no one show up.  But I've nonetheless had a fascination with magic that continues to current day, particularly vintage magic. I found some fun items at the sale, and one of them was this magic trick which employs some visuals that certainly fit in with Halloween.

"Room for Doubt" is a twist on a similar premise to the game Clue.  In the trick, a spectator participates in solving a murder through the selection of hidden murder weapons and room cards.  Actions are dictated from an audio cassette tape. The trick was created by Tony Spina. His name probably isn't known to many people, but it's known to many magicians.  David Copperfield spent hours in his magic shop as a child. He was friends with Siegfried and Roy and even taught Orson Welles a trick or two. And he invented the trick where a person is cut into thirds and the middle section is removed and shown to the audience.  He also eventually bought the company where he bought his first magic trick: Louis Tannen, Inc.

Tuesday, October 10, 2023

Bowl Me Over

I was surprised to find this Halloween candy dish still available at one of the last estate sales for the day as it was closing in on noon. It was in the basement and only priced at $3.

Monday, October 9, 2023

Mondays are to Diecut For - Singing Cats

Welcome to the second edition of "Mondays are to Diecut For".

This singing cat diecut/honeycomb was a find at the same sale as the cat whistle. Instead of whistling, this cat sings.

Sunday, October 8, 2023


This is going to be a quick one.  It's after 10 on Saturday night and I have to get up early to go work all day on the family farmhouse.

I know I and most of my readers have a sense that the 90's were just 10 years ago, but this 1991 Budweiser "I Want to Drink Your Bud" bumper sticker is 32(!) years old.

I couldn't find out much about this campaign.  I'm sure it had commercials to go with it with vampires "vanting" to drink your Bud.  The early 90's were heavy into the monster-themed advertising.  I recall Pepsi/Frito-Lay having a similar campaign as well.

As of late, I've noticed an increasing nostalgia for the 90's, due mainly the children of the 90's hitting their 40's, but even in myself. It was inevitable.

Saturday, October 7, 2023

Zombie Sneppy

 I found this freak for $5 at an estate sale, tucked away in the garage of all places.  At first I thought someone had stuck a skull head on a blow-mold Snoopy body.

Friday, October 6, 2023

Devilish Swizzle Sticks

Though I'm not an imbiber, I've long had a fascination with bar culture and its accessories, particularly swizzle sticks.  It probably goes back to when my mom and dad would go out for New Year's Eve and would always bring home swizzle sticks from their drinks.

I came across these devilish twins a couple months ago.

Thursday, October 5, 2023

Whistle While You Twerk

Last winter, I attended an estate sale of a major vintage Halloween collector.  The crowd was enormous. I arrived an hour early and was still number 60 in line.  I wasn't hopeful anything would be left by the time I got in.  The worst was, they were only allowing 10 people in the basement (where all the Halloween items were) at a time.  But eventually, I did make it downstairs and there were many good items left. I saw pieces I've never seen in person before and while the prices weren't steals, I did get some good deals. I'll be posting those throughout the season.

First up is this "scratch cat" with arched back (twerking???) whistle made by Rosbro.  

Wednesday, October 4, 2023

Sunni Enlightenment

I previously wrote about Bud the Bus Driver's estate sale where I found the sealed box of vintage animal crackers. Bud and his wife also had a nice collection of vintage Halloween.  Among it, I found these 2 Suni candles which were produced in the late 1970's and early 80's.

Tuesday, October 3, 2023

Bubble Bubble Toil and Trouble (with Her Head)

 I found this little witch minus her head at a sale last year.  Fortunately, someone was wise enough to put her head in the Jack O' Lantern along with the pumpkins.  A little Elmer's later and she was as good as new.

She's made by Relpo of Japan who were primarily known for "head" vases.  Ironic, hunh?  She's dated 1967.

Don't lose YOUR head this Halloween, just HEAD over to The Countdown and check out all the HEADliners there!  Okay, I'm done.

Monday, October 2, 2023

Mondays are to Die(Cut) For

Welcome to day 2.  I thought I'd introduce a new feature here called "Mondays are to Die(Cut) For".  Each Monday, I'll post a new Halloween die cut I found in the past year.  I may post more than one at a time, because it was a pretty good year.

This first die cut certainly isn't my best find of the year, but there's a story that goes with the other ones I found and frankly, I don't have time to tell it.  Stay tuned.

Anyway, today's die cut is a ferocious kitty.  I'm not sure if this is cute or horrifying.

This isn't terribly vintage and I've said before I'm not a big fan of the "cute" die cuts that began appearing in the 70's and pretty much took over by the 80's.  This one seems to be a transition piece.  It has the cute pumpkins and bats and the cat is almost cute, but frankly, it looks like it would tear you to pieces if you ran into it on a dark night.

Sunday, October 1, 2023

Halloween -- I Swear Its Still My Bag, Baby, Even If I'm Late!

Holy cow, it's here!  Welcome to Halloween 2023!

This is the first time in my 10 (TEN!) years of participation in the Countdown to Halloween that I've been late.  In fact, normally by now I have at least a week loaded up waiting to deploy. I'm so embarrassed.

I had good intentions.  I thought about it many times during September.  I would have sworn I had another week to go, but here we are!

So no more excuses, let's get going.  First up is this year's bag!

Thursday, September 21, 2023

First Day Blues (and Reds and Yellows and Greens and Purples and ...)

 I'm still reminiscing about school days and every year when school starts up, I always reflect upon my own "dear old golden rule days" back in the 1970's.  Throw in this recent find, and I'm instantly transported back to my first day of school at Point Elementary in South St. Louis County, Missouri.

Friday, September 15, 2023

School Bus Memories

It's school time once again, and actually has been for the last few weeks.  I'm running a little behind on posts.

Anyway, it's school time once again, and school buses are on the streets.  This isn't one of those PSAs to advise you to watch for kids.  It's just a lead-in for one of my latest finds.

I went to at an estate sale of a former bus driver for a local elementary school last weekend.  There were lots of items that had clearly been given to him by his passengers through the years.  One that caught my eye was this Toy Bus Animal Crackers box.

Tuesday, August 15, 2023

I'm Cuccu for Cuccuma

A few months ago, I picked up an Imusa Moka pot Expresso 3-cup coffee maker. It wasn't vintage, but it's something I always wanted to try.  I'm actually surprised I didn't write about it.  Anyway, it works great and makes good coffee, although it's a little involved and doesn't make a lot of coffee.

So when I saw this at a recent estate sale, I assumed it was another similar coffee maker.

Saturday, July 29, 2023

Saturday Night Popcorn

 When I was a kid, treats and snacks were limited, but I could usually talk my mom into making popcorn at least once a month, usually on a Saturday night.  It was made on the stovetop in a big cooking pot with regular vegetable oil and the cheapest popcorn kernels we could buy.  It was seasoned with table salt and served in a large tin cake pan.  Then I'd settle down in front of our RCA console color TV for a double-header of  "Love Boat" and "Fantasy Island" or maybe the CBS Saturday Night Movie.

Sometimes my mom would spring for a more expensive popcorn brand like Jolly Time that came with it's own packet of yellow-colored seasoning. I loved that powdery salt. I told myself it tasted like butter (it didn't).

In my teen years, my desire for popcorn as a weekly snack got to the point that my mom finally bought a popcorn popper.  It was a simple Mirro brand model; just an electric pot with a lid similar to this one, although ours had a clear plastic lid (this, by the way, was not my find).

I once scalded the inside of my nostril sniffing the popcorn immediately after lifting the lid (I told you, I really loved popcorn); lesson learned.

It made adequate popcorn, but I sometimes burned the bottom. There is no worse smell than burnt popcorn.  I longed for one of these (this IS my find):

Tuesday, July 25, 2023

ICEE with my Little Eye

I know, it's "I Spy,", but that doesn't work for today's blog title. Work with me here, people!

I drove past an unassuming little garage sale a few weeks ago.  I almost didn't stop as it looked like mostly new items, but I figured, "Hey, I'm here."

The host was probably in his 40's, so I was surprised to find a vintage 1968 Icee Bear gym(?) bag for sale for $1.

Wednesday, July 19, 2023

Of All the Blogs in the World, You had to Walk into Mine

Did you ever have a dream and wake up thinking, "That's a great idea for a blog title!"  No? Maybe it's just me.  But that's how I came up with today's blog title.

I dreamt long-time reader and longer-time friend FrankO had sent me some items he had found and within lay some mystery to solve. All I can remember about the items were they were a gathering of paper; photos, newspaper clippings, etc.  And FrankO wanted me to research and solve something about them.  And so, I wrote a blog about solving the mystery of them and titled the blog as I've done here.  

As I said, I then woke up and thought, "Hey! That's a great idea for a blog title!"  Unfortunately, I didn't have a mystery garage sale find to go with it.  But as I lay there unable to fall back asleep because now my brain was in overdrive, I realized, I kind of DO have a garage sale mystery I recently found.

But first, let's talk about that title.  What does it have to do with mysteries?  At first I thought, well of course, it's a Humphrey Bogart line. I could hear him saying it.  Then I realized, it's a line from "Casablanca" where he is decidedly not a detective.  The actual quote is "Of all the gin joints in all the towns in all the world, she walks into mine."  But I swear I can visualize a femme fatale walking into a stereotypical detective's office (feet kicked up on the desk) and him uttering a line similar to this.

So where was the detective connection to Humphrey Bogart? Ah yes, "The Maltese Falcon" in which he plays "Sam Spade".  But how did this quote get intertwined with Bogart's portrayal of Dashiell Hammett's private dick? I can only guess that some parody I've seen over the years employed it. Carol Burnett? I know Steve Lawrence played a "Sam Spade" character in "Double Calamity" on her show, but I couldn't find any scene that fit my memory.  Oh well, some mysteries aren't meant to be solved, only accepted.  Now you can see why I have trouble falling back asleep.

Anyway, back to my mystery.

I found this portrait in a box of photographs at a recent sale.

Monday, July 10, 2023

Manning Bowman Bonanza

Yes, it's another toaster and percolator post. What can I say?  These things almost seem to find me rather than the other way around.

A few weeks ago, I spotted a Manning Bowman percolator in all it's glorious Art Deco roundness.

Wednesday, June 28, 2023

Garage Selling

 For today's blog, I thought I'd do something I've never done before: write about my own garage sale.

Tuesday, May 23, 2023

Come Along with Me and I'll Garage Sale with Thee

I have a special treat for everyone today.  Well, "treat" may be a bit strong.  But if you've ever wondered what it was like to garage sale with me, this is your lucky day. Okay, "lucky" may be a bit strong.

Okay, let's not quibble with words.  You're wondering, What is Tom babbling about?"  I'm babbling, I mean, talking about my first (and maybe last) Garage Sale Finds vlog.

I've been toying with the idea of creating some vlogs of my garage and estate sales adventures for a while now.  I've been on the fence whether I wanted to go that direction, but thought I'd give it a shot.  I've watched other garage sale vlogs and have thought, "I find better stuff than that".

My next concern was, is it legal?  Of course, there are countless Youtube videos out there doing exactly this, but I was curious.  From what I've read, essentially, even if you on private property, but are "asked" to enter, you may videotape.  Kind of like a vampire.  I didn't plan on filming any actual people, so I decided to proceed (more on that later).

So this past weekend, I took my camera with me along for the ride (or walk as the case may be).  Videoing the sales was the easy part.  Editing them was something else.

My first challenge was, for obvious reasons, I didn't want people's faces to be shown.  There are a lot of people at garage sales these days.  Not like the old days when I'd be the lone person there.  Consequently, they bounce in and out of the video.  I tried to point the camera to shoot at waist height, but still ended up catching a lot of people. So finding software that could blur faces was my first task.  I ended up playing around with the online video editor Flixier.  It wasn't terribly hard to figure out how to use, although the blurring feature is fairly clunky.  It doesn't follow faces, so you have to blur out large blocks of video and move the blurring area frequently.  I did my best.

Second was adding some narrative to let you know what was going on.  I didn't talk too much during the actual video and I didn't feel like doing a voiceover, so I added some text explaining what I was looking at and my thoughts.

One last warning: it's long.  It's 17 minutes and 36 seconds long.  I'm sure there are long sections I could have edited out, but if you want the full effect of just 1 garage sale (I went to about 5 garage sales and 4 estate sales that day) it's all there.  You can always double the playback speed and watch it in 8 minutes and 48 seconds.

Will I do this again?  I guess it depends how much everyone enjoys the video...and if I can find some decent video editing software.

P.S.  I'll follow up with a later post in more detail of the actual items I bought.

P.S.S. That's my daughter with me in the video.  The garage sale force is strong with this one...

Wednesday, May 10, 2023

Coffee and Toast

This past weekend I attended a rummage sale at a local church, St. John's Evangelical in Mehlville, Missouri.  Rummage sales seem the last bastion of bargains.  Unfortunately, their primary way of advertising is by signs in front of the church, so I rarely know of them.  I just happened to be driving the route past this church last week and saw the sign.

Monday, May 1, 2023

Universal Toaster

Toast indeed is universal. Who doesn't love toast? (p.s. we can't be friends if you don't love toast).  And this is a Universal Toaster, patented 1914.  I found it at a private estate sale a few weekends ago.  It still amazes me people have these 100+ year-old toasters laying around.  And based on its condition, this one apparently was laying around in a dark corner of an attic or basement.

Friday, April 21, 2023

What was on TV April 21st through 27th, 1979

After a long hiatus (since 2020!), "What was on TV" returns with this April 21st through 27th, 1979 issue featuring Walter Cronkite who would retire from "The CBS Evening News" in 1980, though he would continue to work until his death in 2009.
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